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5 Essential Elements Of An Outstanding Digital Portfolio
By Jillian Wong, 01 Dec 2015
Having a digital portfolio is essential for showcasing your work and getting your name out there. But with so much information on assembling one floating online, how do you decide what your portfolio should and should not have? We thronged through the sea of advice and narrowed it down to five essential elements.
1. Have A Strong Personal Brand
Having a distinctive portfolio design lets you stand out from the millions of designers out there. Whether it’s a unique logo or a cohesive web design, having a strong personal brand ensures potential employers and clients will remember you.
Enter Squarespace’s Style Editor, which lets you customize the look of your website, from the font to the colors. You can customize your chosen template and decide the look of each web page via Squarespace’s LayoutEngine and Content Block system. Can’t decide on a single look? Its template switching feature lets you install multiple templates so you can work on several designs at once. With hundreds of customizable settings at your fingertips, you can be sure of a unique, one-of-a-kind portfolio that reflects who you are as a designer.
2. Showcase Only Your Best Work
Just like how you tailor your résumé to a specific job, your portfolio should contain only your best work. Forget about scrappy school projects or amateur work—if the work isn’t a good representation of your skills or if you don’t feel 100% confident about it, leave it out. There’s no right number of projects to showcase, but keep in mind that you shouldn’t exhibit all of them, just the ones you’re most proud of.
Once you decide which projects make the cut, you can leave it to Squarespace to ensure they get the attention they deserve. Its Gallery Blocks feature offers hundreds of presentation styles from slideshows to grid layouts, so there’s always a style to suit your fancy. Lightbox functionality is integrated into the design, meaning your images will appear as large, beautiful visuals that capture your viewers’ attention. You can edit your images directly within your browser using Squarespace’s built-in aviary image editor—crop, resize, rotate, adjust brightness and contrast, the list goes on.
To make your portfolio more impactful, you can choose to incorporate functions like hover and transition effects. And instead of populating the gallery with just images, you can upload audio and video content, allowing for a greater variety of media that will increase the appeal of your website.
Finally, Squarespace’s easy-to-use drag-and-drop image management makes adding and organizing images a cinch.
3. Ensure Your Website Is Easy To Navigate
Your website should be user-friendly and easy to navigate, from the menu bar to your work samples. This might seem like common sense but it’s something that is easily overlooked. Few things are more frustrating than a website that offers bad user experience; a poorly designed one will cause your visitors to get lost and detract from your portfolio.
True to its promise of being a great publishing platform, Squarespace’s template designs support major content types like Pages, Galleries, Blogs, Commerce, Calendars and more. Its Content Block system breaks down your website into clearly defined areas such as the menu, gallery, index and archive, while its custom WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor supports multiple content types and complex multi-column layouts. With these useful features in place, you won’t have to deal with broken links and images, illegible fonts or barely discernible thumbnails.
4. Incorporate Responsive Design
With more people accessing the web on their smartphones, having a website that’s mobile-friendly is essential. Squarespace’s built-in responsive nature ensures your website looks great on any device. Whether you’re viewing it on desktop or mobile, its image loader detects the gadget you’re on and selects the appropriate image size to load. In addition, Squarespace’s progressive image loading feature means images at the top of a page load first, making your website faster and more responsive.
5. Include Social Media Integration
Connecting your social media profile to your portfolio lets you establish a strong online presence. It drives traffic to your website and increases exposure, and also enables visitors to share your work with others.
Squarespace lets you link your website to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and other portfolio websites like 500px and Dribble. You can also display content from your social media accounts directly into any page, sidebar or footer on your website. Additionally, incorporating social media buttons lets visitors follow you on major social networks.
Now that you know what makes an outstanding portfolio, get started on creating one at Squarespace.
This is a sponsored feature.
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